Salem Public Schools' Weekly Update
November 3, 2023
A Message from the Superintendent
Next week (Nov. 6-10) will be another short one for our students: Tuesday, November 7th is both Election Day and a professional development day for our faculty and staff (all schools closed except for the Carlton Innovation School); and Veteran’s Day will be observed on Friday, November 10th (all schools closed).
On Tuesday, we will be testing our emergency alert system at 4 p.m. All Salem Public Schools' families who are subscribed to the ParentSquare messaging platform will receive a message by text, e-mail and telephone (in their chosen language) indicating it is only a test of our emergency alert system. We reiterate it is only a test.
Families who don’t receive Tuesday’s message should contact their school as soon as possible so that we can make the proper adjustments to their settings.
We chose November 7th to test our emergency alert system since each of our schools – except Carlton – will be closed, thus mitigating any reaction or worry. We will also send reminders via ParentSquare and our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).
There are still a small number of SPS families who have not subscribed to the ParentSquare app and we encourage everyone to do so. It is a free download via the app store.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!
And the Rockstar Award Winner is.....
At Salem Public Schools, we are recognizing one staff member a week who exemplifies our core values of celebrating differences, facilitating collaboration, fostering innovation, creating equity and access, growing all students, and upholding high standards for all. We are surprising a deserving SPS team member with a rock star trophy.
The rockstar award this week goes to early childhood coach, Ms. Shawna Erps, who was recently recognized in the Department of Education's monthly instructional newsletter for her leadership of our preschool literacy efforts. Ms. Erps has led the implementation of high-quality preschool curriculum that is integrated with play-based learning materials in alignment with the Massachusetts Early Literacy Frameworks. Additionally, she is working with our educators to connect our Pre-K instruction to our elementary (K-5) teaching practices and resources. We appreciate Ms. Erps' vision for, and expertise of, the preschool space in the Salem Public Schools!
Reminder - Schools Closed
All schools except Carlton are closed on Tuesday, November 7th for Election Day.
All schools and offices are closed on Friday, November 10th in observance of Veteran's Day.
Thanksgiving Assistance Available
The Salem Salvation Army is offering support for Thanksgiving meals this year. Thanksgiving distribution will take place on Monday, November 20 and Wednesday, November 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Located at the Salvation Army North Shore Corps: 93-95 North Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970. Registration not required. Thanksgiving meals will be distributed while supplies last. Questions? Contact Major Ruth at (978) 744-5181. For more information, please visit their website.
Dangers of Vaping Seminar Slated for Nov. 8-9
The Northeast Tobacco Free Partnership will visit the Saltonstall School and the Collins Middle School next week to host the seminar, The Dangers of Vaping, Wednesday, Nov. 8 in Spanish at the Saltonstall School; and Thursday, Nov. 9 in English at the Collins Middle School cafeteria.
Both seminars will run from 5:30-7 p.m.
Counselors' Corner - “Thankful for Differences”
Salem Public Schools celebrates diversity and difference and is committed to working toward becoming an anti-racist organization. And while we regularly center our appreciation of diversity and difference, this month we’d like to shift to the power of thankfulness and gratitude and its ability to promote resilience for all of us.
Author Ross Gay wrote The Book of Delights, a collection of essays written daily about things that delighted him. Gay found that the more attentive he became to noticing in detail ordinary encounters, the more things he found that brought him authentic and transformative joy.
Consider creating a “daily delight” practice with your family!
Commit to finding at least ONE thing that brings joy/gratitude/thankfulness.
Discuss using all of the senses: what do we see, smell, hear, touch, taste each day
Remember NO “thing” is too small to be delightful (the fizziness of the bubbles in seltzer, the silly way the teacher laughs, the way the sun slipped like fingers through the clouds that day, the hilariousness of the story your friend told, the baby bunny nest found under the slide at the playground)
SHARE them with one another, daily.
Remember, the more one commits to a practice of gratitude, the more things one will find for which to be thankful. While this certainly doesn’t negate all of the challenges and suffering in the world and in our lives, it certainly can offer us some grounding and balance amidst the darkness.
1 Gay, Ross. The Book of Delights. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2022.
Winter sports registration at Salem High School is open. Winter sports at SHS include:
- Basketball: Varsity, JV, Freshman (Boys & Girls)
- Gymnastics: Varsity, JV
- Hockey: Varsity, JV
- Indoor Track & Field: Varsity, JV (Boys & Girls)
- Swimming: Varsity, JV
- Wrestling: Varsity, JV
- Cheer: Varsity, JV
- Unified Strength & Conditioning: Varsity
National Principals Month
To honor our principals for National Principals Month, we solicited one adjective describing each:
Encouraging. Compassionate. Personable. Dedicated. Caring. Passionate. Supportive. Nurturing. Dependable. Thoughtful. Conscientious.
Happy National Principals Month to our stellar school leadership.
Salem Winter Colorguard Hosts Parent/Student Orientation Nov. 13
November is National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month
November is National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month when we celebrate the rich history, traditions and language of these remarkable Americans. This is a time when we would like tor remind our students and families that the land that is Salem is Naumkeag, or fishing place, where generations of Indigenous peoples lived and passed through for centuries. From the village upon the North River to Castle Hill, the people of Naumkeag farmed, fished, traded, raised families, discovered and invented, created art, and, above all else, honored the lands upon which we stand today. We acknowledge that this is Indigenous land and also acknowledge the Massachusett Tribe, who continue to honor and hold this land into the present.
Mass Tuition Equity Law in Effect
The state’s tuition equity Law took effect on July 1st and expands access to in-state tuition rates and state financial aid for all students who have attended high school in the Commonwealth for at least three years, obtained a high school diploma or equivalent in Massachusetts, and met certain other documentation requirements. The law expanded access for undocumented students to in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts public higher education institutions and to state financial aid at both public and private higher education institutions. The state Department of Higher Education has developed a web site with information about the law’s implementation, including a section of frequently asked questions.
Welcome to the Virtual Backpack. This is a space where we will place items that in the past may have been a flyer in your student's backpack from friends and partners to SPS.
Download the ParentSquare app
A reminder that ParentSquare is the district platform for communication. You will receive communication from the district, your school, and your student's classroom all in one space. You can communicate 1-to-1 with teachers, sign up for parent-teacher conferences, and more.
This is the primary communication platform for all Salem Public Schools. All messages and alerts come through ParentSquare and the app makes 1-to-1 communication with your student's teachers and signing up for guardian/student conferences a breeze. If you are not receiving messages from ParentSquare or if you are having trouble, contact your school's front office. You can visit www.parentsquare.com for more information.